The Adaljiza Sosa-Riddell Mentor Award is presented annually by the APSA Committee on the Status of Latinos y Latinas in the Profession to recognize the exemplary mentoring of Latino y Latina students and junior faculty each year. The award is named in honor of Adaljiza Sosa-Riddell, the first Latina to earn a PhD in political science.
Dr. Anthony (Tony) Affigne is a senior professor in the political science department and Black studies program at Providence College and visiting professor of international and public affairs at Brown University. His research on Latino, Black, and Asian American politics, environmental parties and policy, and the early history of political science, has been published in the US and abroad.
Dr. Affigne was nominated by six individuals for the award, many of them former students. Nominators stressed Dr. Affigne’s ability to foster inclusive learning environments and extensive mentorship that pushed them to envision new career trajectories. An undergraduate student at Brown University shared, “Tony created a space where our own lives and experiences were honored and respected. He listened to our stories and perspectives and pushed us to think more deeply and broadly about our lives, la comunidad, and our own futures as Latina/o/x professionals.”
“Tony sees students as beings capable of making decisions and actively involves them in teaching and learning processes,” writes Dr. Terza Lima-Neves, professor of political science at Johnson C. Smith University. “…The key lesson I learned from Tony as an undergraduate was to think about the type of life I wanted to live and impact I wanted to make in the world and pursue a professional path that would lead me there. His influence and mentorship inspired me to pursue my PhD in political science and become a professor and community advocate for the global Cabo Verdean community.”
Dr. Angela Ocampo, assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan, reflected on her experience with Dr. Affigne sharing, “As a Latina, immigrant and first-generation college student, the material I learned in Professor Affigne’s class was transformational. For the first time, I learned about the political and social realities of Latinx communities in a classroom setting. Professor Affigne’s expansive knowledge and deep passion for the subject was inspirational. This full immersion sparked my interest to pursue a career as a political scientist, to engage in research about Latinx politics, and to teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students alike.”
Christian Martell, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, offered, “He skillfully guided me through my first time conducting quantitative research and encouraged me to volunteer for the 2009 National Conference on Latino Politics, Power, and Policy. As the first in my family to attend college in the U.S., these were accomplishments I could not have fathomed without Dr. Affigne’s guidance and support. Needless to say, my trajectory was forever changed.” Lizeth Gonzalez, a former student, underscored the sentiments of other nominators adding, “he deserves this recognition for his thoughtfulness, for his interest in his students, and for his desire to see his students succeed.”
Dr. Affigne was also praised for their engagement with colleagues and emerging research in the discipline. Dr. Betina Cutaia Wilkinson, associate professor and associate chair of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University, shared, “Tony has always served as an active audience member in conference presentations, particularly by emerging scholars of marginalized backgrounds. When Dr. Affigne attends a conference presentation, presenters can always count on him to provide critical, constructive feedback on research projects. I feel incredibly fortunate to have benefitted from his research and professional advice at conferences during my early years as a faculty member.”
For nearly thirty years, Dr. Anthony (Tony) Affigne has offered some of Providence College’s most popular political science classes, including “Race and Politics in the Americas,” “Political Thought in Science Fiction,” and “The Politics of Climate Change.” As visiting professor at nearby Brown University, his courses have included race and public policy, Latinx politics, and environmental politics. At both colleges, Affigne has earned a reputation as an innovative, caring professor who integrates inspired lectures, lively discussion, experiential learning, and thoughtful mentoring. For students of color, in particular, his insistence on high aspirations and high standards has made him a beloved advisor and advocate for generations of talented young scholars.
Beyond his classrooms, Affigne has been a major force to broaden the discipline of political science, creating new opportunities for his students and for other rising stars. He led the historic 1995 national effort to establish for the first time an Organized Section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (REP), now one of the profession’s largest, most vibrant subfields. In 1998 he co-founded the Latino Caucus in Political Science, was a founding member of the Fund for Latino Scholarship and is a longtime member of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS). He previously served as Treasurer and Executive Council member for the American Political Science Association and held leadership roles in the Western Political Science Association. In 2011 he was recipient of the Frank J. Goodnow Award, the American Political Science Association’s highest recognition for distinguished service to the discipline. He served as a member of the APSA Committee on the Status of Latinas and Latinos in the Profession from 1997-1999.
The APSA Committee on the Status of Latinos y Latinas once again thanks Dr. Affigne for their tireless dedication to undergraduate students and junior faculty and offers its thanks for their commitment to bettering the political science discipline.